Interview #28: Regina Anderson

It's about time we give props to the one and only Regina Anderson.

I will be surprised if you have never met Regina before. She's got a positive vibe that attracts some of the friendliest, most fantastic people in the 'Burgh. Need a recomendation for something to do? Check Regina's Facebook updates. Making a career change? Regina has just the person you need to talk to. Thinking about throwing a huge party? Regina has all the hook-ups.

I've often wondered—how does she do it? She's constantly helping and connecting others. For instance, she has nominated over 13 people to be interviewed on Yinzpiration... I can't keep up! It didn't surprise me when, in turn, I received many nominations for Regina to be interviewed. The law of reciprocity, no doubt!

It was such a treat for me to sit down with her one-on-one for the very first time. We met up for happy hour at Sonoma Grille. (They have incredible happy hour deals: $4 glasses of wine and $5 tapas... yes please!)

Regina is involved in so many endeavors, here are just a few of many titles she sports:

Regina recently announced that she will soon be moving to Washington D.C. I want to thank her for all that she has done for our city. (And you should, too! The comment boxes below would be a great place to start. *Wink.)

We have big shoes to fill, Pittsburgh friends. It's time to start stepping up, volunteering and getting involved! Enjoy Regina's Q&A.

Name: Regina Anderson

Job title: Regional Internship Center Director at Coro Center for Civic Leadership

Twitter: @ReginaDM; @LoveFriendsPgh; @RICSWPA

Blogs:Hybrid Socialist Nation; Love of Friends; and The Reginal Intership Center Blog

Neighborhood you live in: Squirrel Hill

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: Latte from Common Place, chai lattee from Espressa a Mano, and home brewed lattes by Clayburgh.

Current Shampoo Preference: Lush shampoo solid honeysuckle bliss about once every couple of weeks. I have my hair pretty well trained to take care of itself.

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?
About 7 years ago, when I came to visit Pittsburgh (I was visiting CMU to see if I wanted to go there for grad school), I received the most amazing welcome. I pretty instantly felt Pittsburgh was home. My love of Pittsburgh literally grows everyday—my friends are starting their own businesses, buying homes, getting married, and we’re all recruiting new people here to start cool things, too. I choose Pittsburgh because I truly feel that here in Pittsburgh, if you want to do something, you can. Plus, you’ll have an army of people to support you in the process.  I love my life here.

Who do you spend your time with?
I love people, so this might be a long question to answer. I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with a lot of people. I recruited my boyfriend to move to Pittsburgh, and we definitely spend a lot of time together. A lot of people know him by the name Clayburgh.

I also spend a lot of time with my best friend Courtney. There are about a million photos of us over the years on facebook. She rocks (literally b/c she’s great, but she’s also a musician).

I hang out a lot with Kelsey Halling. She’s my volunteer partner-in-crime.  We’re pretty much a package in that regard.  She is also on the Love of Friends team with me, and I spend a lot of time with them--Bethany, Jordan, Carly Kelly, Alexa. I love all of them so much. We put on a Valentine’s Day celebration that highlights the cool art, music and PEOPLE of Pittsburgh. We focus on all things local. We also put this celebration together so that no one has to ever stress out about Valentine’s Day. I’ve seen young, old, hipster, young professional, urban, suburban—all types of people stress out about this day. Single, ambiguously dating, just broken up, crushing on your bff—we help people put all that aside and dazzle them with food, drinks, dancing, art and the chance to meet some really cool people.  (2.14.12, we’ll see you on the dance floor.)  

I spend a lot of time with my coworkers because they are all super involved and we all go to each other’s events.  I also spend a lot of time with my kitchen co-op friends--food brings us together.

And, if I don’t get to see my other friends regularly enough, well, that’s what the good old fashioned pot-luck is for, or house party.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?
Again with the people already. It’s true though. I help employers in southwestern PA develop internship programs unique to their companies, and I help people looking for internship opportunities find great experiences. I get to talk to all kinds of people doing all kinds of great things.  I manage a great team, so I’m not always the one directly talking to each of these groups anymore, but I’m still out in the community a lot.

Coro has offered me the chance to really grow professionally and ease into being a manager.  I’m a tough boss, be warned.

Do you have a soul food?
I think this is the hardest question you ask... I would have to say, as a "vegetarian who eats what she wants," a nice slow cooked ham always gets me. It reminds me of childhood.

What are some of your recent personal goals?
I actually have these written down. (“They” say that’s good to do because having a public record holds you accountable.) These are more life goals than recent ones but now everyone will know, so you can all make sure I get these things done:

  1. Become fluent in Spanish
  2. Travel to Mexico was emended to Become familiar with Mexico (so I can go there often)
  3. Travel to Mongolia
  4. Become the executive director of an organization dedicated to positive community development
  5. Join a corporate board
  6. Increase philanthropic giving each year
  7. Travel as much as possible

I’m happy to say I’m doing quite well with some of these items, especially the last two.

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?
Oh boy. Next to people, the thing I love the most is FOOD, prepared. I love Pusedee’s Garden. If you haven’t been there yet, go! I used to work for the family that owns PG in Squirrel Hill at the now closed Sweet Basil. Taste of India, Salt (but honestly, who doesn’t?) I love the Tin Front Cafe—I just really like being there. Piccolo Forno; the Beehive, and although I don’t really eat tofu anymore, Beehive has the best tofu egg sandwich of all times. I go there often to the point where Ernesto will say to me, “you’re getting the tofu and egg sandwich again, aren’t you?” Carson Street Deli in my mind hands down has the best sandwiches. I always get an overloaded veggie sandwich on one of their amazing breads to the point where after I say all the veggies I want, I hear, “next time just tell me which veggies you don’t want.” Oops. I haven’t been there in a while, but I think Double Wide rocks. They were one of the first places around that I saw that offered vegan and wheat free stuff. Mexico City and Emiliano’s... I’m also a huge fan of just cooking at home.

Describe your ideal day.
Work out in some way: running, tennis, squash, lifting weights. Brunch has to happen and if a mimosa is involved, then even better. Volunteering in some way whether working on Love of Friends stuff, or going to an event to help out and that acts as double duty as a great way to hang out with friends. Preparing for dinner that takes a long time from acquiring ingredients, chopping, assembling etc with a glass of wine in hand, good music playing and being with the ones I love. Reading and/or watching a movie

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?
Ask Courtney, I am NOT good with dates, but here are the shows I loved here:

  • TV on the Radio at Mr. Smalls (that was 2009, I remember that because it was the second time I’d ever seen Clay...the show itself I don’t really remember)
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Brillo
  • Built to Spill Mr. Smalls
  • The Head and the Heart Mr. Smalls
  • Feist and Andrew Bird (not together) Carnegie Music Hall with Courtney
  • Wilco at AJ Pulombo with Courtney
  • The National OH MAN!  That was a GREAT show!
  • Decemberists and Broken Social Scene
  • Seeing the New Pornographers at Diesel was memorable in that the acoustics were horrid, the space ensures there is NO good place to stand unless you’re upstairs and oh, they only let some weirdly selected VIP group stand up there
  • David Sedaris and Itzhak Perlman (not together) at Heinz Hall
  • Love of Friends 2010 when Big Hurry, Nik Westman and the Central Plains and Meeting of Important People performed and when Nik and the Plains performed, “Dearly” the Love of Friend's theme song. Everyone got on stage to sing it including Greg Dutton from Lohio. It was was also during snowmageddon so right after I had to make an announcement for “the person who parked in this man’s spot” to please move his or her car.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years? What do you love most about the city?
With these questions, I feel like, if only I threw in some drama, some romance, some cynical jokes about the world, this could be the next great American novel. What would Jonathan Franzen say?

What I’ve loved about my time in the city is that what is going on here has become so nuanced. The art scene is booming and will continue to boom and expand. For example, the kinds of art that is coming has changed. It’s not just art galleries, (which are amazing) but things like Assemble Pgh and I Made It Market have emerged. Spoken word has taken off with MothUp coming to Pittsburgh and “Speaking of” and the new project by Bricolage. Our choices will continue to grow as new ideas come to fruition.

One hope that I have is that the Midwife Center will expand and more people and families in this area will have access to more choices on how they want to give birth. I heard that Temple and West Penn want to bring in a new medical school--that’s incredible. The food knowledge in our city is growing too! We’ll have fewer brown spaces, more jobs based on urban agriculture. Plus, with groups like the Great Lakes Urban Exchange, we’ll continue to foster best practices and spread ideas to and from other cities near the great lakes, and things like the Megabus will help us to get from one city to the next because we might not have the kind of rail systems in place that we need to conduct interstate business in ten years. These are all the things (not the lack of rail systems) that I love about Pittsburgh. I have yet to see the potential of this city and those acting on that potential want it all; it’s only going to increase.

Got an idea? Okay, let’s go!